Thursday, February 28, 2013

What I learned this month

"There's only one way to succeed
in anything and that is
to give everything."
- Vince Lombardi 

"And in the end it's not the years in your
life that count. It's the life in your years."
- Abraham Lincoln

Another perspective learning about yourself.

What an adventure this month.  What I learned: 

I can not run my negative tape that runs me down and write positive things about myself at the same time.  In order for the negative tape to run, I must cancel out all good things about myself.  I know now that there are many good things about me, therefor the negative tape is a lie.  Why should I tell myself lies? 

I learned that the better I feel about myself the easier it is to 'snap' out of it when I hit a slump. 

I learned that the more aware I become of myself, my awareness heightens of others.  This surprised me, I was taught that anyone that focus on themselves become a very small package.  I did not expect that caring for myself would increase my awareness of the needs of others. 

I learned how the parable of the talents works.  Matthew 25:14-30 King James Version (KJV)
I always thought it unfair that the one that had the most talents was given even more talents.  This past month the more I acknowledge the good qualities I have the more I was aware of more qualities that I have.  At the end of the month, I was thinking of more to write about then I did at the beginning of the month.  The concept ties in to the concept that the more I use my talents the more I have to share.

I learned so much more than I expected too sharing my love story of Finally Loving Myself.  I learned this from FLYlady as FLY - Finally Loving Yourself.  I was introduced to the concept years ago, now I get it.

I learned that after 10 years of counseling I am at the beginning of my story, the one I write for myself.  I am so excited to finally understand what it means to thrive.

My hope is that each of you continue your journey from victim to survivor to thriving.  We are each in a different phase.  To those that are starting your own journey to thriving, keep going.  The road is littered with discouragement but it is so worth the trip.  For those farther ahead then me, keep going, I am following your example.  The most amazing thing of all I discovered how blessed I am in this amazing world.  I thank the Lord everyday for one more day in His playground.

I am at the beginning of my story, not the end.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Victim - Surviving - Thriving

No matter what happens, no matter how far you seem to be away from where you want to be, never stop believing that you will somehow make it. Have a unrelenting belief that things will work out, that the long road has a purpose, that the things that you desire may not happen today, but they will happen. Persist and persevere, your desired path remains possible.
— Brad Gast
Victim - Surviving - Thriving

 A child has few options if their world is turned upside down and inside out.  The smallest victims do things to survive that make little sense to adults.  My world shattered at age 5 and I became a victim of a brutal neighbor.  I survived.  I excelled at surviving.  I was in counseling when I was introduced to the concept of thriving.  KavinCoach told me he didn't want me to just to survive but to thrive.  I nodded my head, left and returned the next week to ask, "What the hell or you talking about?"  I didn't know what it looked like, felt, or what a person did when they thrived.  I studied desert plants.  Now there is something that can survive the harshest conditions.  I looked at what they did, how they grew, and how they adapted to keep growing.  Many desert flowers are tiny so that the least amount of surface is exposed to the unrelenting sun.  Some bloom at night when waxy white blooms open to self pollinate then close again to carry on with life.  (Link to a video:  I started to change and adapt.  I faced my past from adult perspective I learned new ways to live.  I changed my point of view.  I grew and strengthened through many discussions and challenges.  I studied and experimented.  In the first few months of counseling I read A Child Called It.  I admired the author Dave Pelzer (official web page: found his path to thriving and teaching others that they could thrive too.  At an interview Dave was asked if he wished his childhood had been different, his answer astounded me, "I like the man I am today.  I would not be that man without the experiences that I had." I vowed that first year of counseling that some day I could say something similar.  Now I can, "I like the woman I am today.  I would not be that woman without the experience that I had."  I thrive. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


My Beauty is uniquely me. ~ Quote at Express MiE dance studio

I am unique is a beautiful thing to learn.  My sister and I were treated as if we were interchangeable.  If one of us liked something it was a given that the other also would like it.  This wasn't true.  We are quite different from each other.  We also share many likes and dislikes but that doesn't make us the same.  Over time I learned how different I was but being different wasn't a good thing.  I was ridiculed, teased, put down by those that should have supported me.  I often felt like a triangle being hammered into a round hole.  I just wasn't going to go.  I dissociated and twisted myself into every shape trying.  Counseling took me on a journey of self discovery.  I found out a bit at a time that unique is beautiful.  I lived in Washington state and watched the snow storms dump tons of snow and I would think how each individual snow flake was different.  Humans have so many more variables.  Uniqueness should be cherished but it isn't.  Commercials busily try to persuade you that this or that item will make you better than some body else.  Keeping up with the Joneses a sad race into sameness.  I struggled to see that my unique qualities were in any way useful or good. I finally understand. I am unique and it is a good thing.  I don't need to reshape myself to fit someone else's image of what I should be.  My qualities, beliefs, and actions make up who I am.  Unique is a beautiful. 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deep fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, "who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?"
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world!
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone!
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.
Marianne Williamson for Nelson Mandela's inaugural speech
You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.
Martha Graham

Monday, February 25, 2013

I love choices...

"For every failure, there's an alternative
course of action. You just have to find it.
When you come to a roadblock,
take a detour."
- Mary Kay Ash
Click Here For Success Tip # 037

And take the harder routes. I gave up going to college after I was married.  I could have left it at that.  I didn't.  I went back to school and one class at a time worked my way through a photography degree.  At age 32 I couldn't walk through a grocery store to do my shopping.  (The detergent section was great, pull out a box of laundry soap and sit down and rest.)  Age 55 I finished the Lozilu Mud run, a 5K obstacle course.  I met challenges and failed.  I would get up dust myself off and trudge forward even if I had to crawl.  I learned during this time the principle of mind over matter.  If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.  Some things other people view as a failure.  In high school, I played a piano piece in a competition.  I blew it.  Totally forgot an entire section.  Some people viewed this as a failure.  I didn't.  I got out there and did it.  I didn't plan or want to win.  I just faced a fear and did it.  I learned that if the choice I originally want shuts a door in my face, I can stand there staring at what might have been or look around for a window or breeze way or gate or ladder or shovel to dig under the wall.  This proved especially helpful during counseling.  I would go to a session get all prepped to do well the next week and just fall flat on my face.  The door would slam before I got through it.  I would crash.  KavinCoach once asked what the advantage of hitting bottom again.  I laughed and said it was familiar territory and the only way I had to go was up.  I choose to try again and again.  I admire Thomas Edison and his perspective of failure. 

"I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have
succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have
eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will
― Thomas A. Edison

I tackled many a problem by finding out what doesn't work.  My work in the computer labs consisted of me finding all the ways that didn't work and how to get out of the mess. I knew that if I did it the wrong way so would a student and if I had the answer to solve the problem then I was considered a genius.  Unfortunately, some people felt intimidated by my ability to fix computers and were afraid to ask me questions.  Most people got over that when I explained that when I first learned to use a mouse I had it out on my hand.  My brother asked me what I was doing.  "I ran out of mouse pad."  After the class finished laughing at my misadventure they new I understood problems and failure because I found 700 things that didn't work. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I'm a nerd

  The important thing is not to stop questioning.  ~Albert Einstein

  Over the years I had a certain perspective of myself.  When I was hired to take care of the computer labs about 15 years ago, I had a major shift in perspective.  I read the book Computers for Dummies.  There was a page on how to take care of your Nerd.  At the end of the page, I admitted I was a Nerd.  (By this books definition the super annoying person that actually knows what the acronyms for computers mean. Enjoys playing with computers and will work long hours to solve an obscure problem that no one else cares about.)  I finally bought myself a t-shirt that said, "Resident Nerd."  One of the junior high students questioned me as why I would want to be known as a nerd.

This was my reply:
Michael Jordan having "retired," with $40 million in endorsements, makes $178,100 a day, working or not.
If he sleeps 7 hours a night, he makes $52,000 every night while visions of sugarplums dance in his head.

If he goes to see a movie, it'll cost him $7.00, but he'll make $18,550 while he's there.

If he decides to have a 5-minute egg, he'll make $618 while boiling it.

He makes $7,415/hr more than minimum wage.

He'll make $3,710 while watching each episode of Friends.

If he wanted to save up for a new Acura NSX ($90,000) it would take him a whole 12 hours.

If someone were to hand him his salary and endorsement money, they would have to do it at the rate of $2.00 every second.

He'll probably pay around $200 for a nice round of golf, but will be reimbursed $33,390 for that round.

Assuming he puts the federal maximum of 15% of his income into a tax deferred account (401k), his contributions will hit the federal cap of $9500 at 8:30 a.m. on January 1st.

If you were given a penny for every 10 dollars he made, you'd be living comfortably at $65,000 a year.

He'll make about $19.60 while watching the 100 meter dash in the Olympics, and about $15,600 during the Boston Marathon.

While the common person is spending about $20 for a meal in his trendy Chicago restaurant, he'll pull in about $5600.

This year, he'll make more than twice as much as all U.S. past presidents for all of their terms combined. Amazing isn't it?

If Jordan saves 100% of his income for the next 450 years, he'll still have less than Bill Gates has today.

$$$ Game over. Nerd wins. 

Working at the university I learned that my obsession for learning obscure things about computers, printers, and other stuff that artist needed in the digital dark room was appreciated by students and professors.  I was very popular during finals.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!

I did it.  5K with 15 obstacles.  The only obstacle I didn't do was the wall that I gave myself permission not to do before I went.  I climbed over 10 foot slatted walls, hoisted myself over four foot pipes (about 1 meter), scrambled over huge tires, sloshed through numerous mud puddles (rain from yesterday helped add to the mud puddle count), over and under short walls, swayed and lurched up 20 feet clinging to rope netting, generally pushed myself to the max both physical and mentally.  PTSD through in a few kicks of its own to make the physical exertion a way to defeat the emotional upheaval.  I rode home for an hour all the while feeding and playing with our grandson in the back seat.  Ate a lovely peanut butter and homemade strawberry jelly sandwich, showered, and crashed out sleeping for hours.  It was an amazing experience.  My daughter has most of the pictures on her camera since her camera is waterproof.  Besides this run was not a photo challenge but a physical challenge that tested me in so many ways.  My DH kept my time and said it took me about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  I was just thrilled to finish. 

The essence of the battle: me against the mud.

Me after I cleaned up.  The bag ways a ton from the amount of mud on my clothes.  You can see the water slide in the background.

Check List

Heading to bed ready for the race.

Pink wig  ✓
Bobby pins  ✓
Map ✓
Old tenney runners with holes ✓
Cheese and crackers ✓
Towel ✓
Change of clothing ✓
Body won't calm down ✓

Must sleep....will post again after the race. 

Crumbs forgot the trash bag to store muddy to go.

Friday, February 22, 2013


"Always make a total effort,
even when the odds are against you."
- Arnold Palmer
Click Here For Success Tip # 054

I love a challenge and I take them on.  One way both my counselors would push me to work was to offer a challenge.  "You came this far, will you stretch a little more?" MyCounselor offered the idea, "This was good, this is better, and this would be best." Always giving me a choice of what I want out of life.  The Blog of Impossible Things is offering the same thing take the challenge... Do something Impossible.  Last year I went with my daughter to a 5K mud run with obstacles.  My job was to hold my grandson while she and her friends ran.  They were all amazing.  This year for part of my Christmas present to myself I signed up for that same run and started training.  I just opened the email of final instructions for the race like sunscreen, ID, towel, and clothes I am willing to get really dirty.  I saved a pair of running shoes with a hole in the toe for this race.  When I am done, I'll throw the shoes away.  I am so excited.  Wednesday on my final big work out before the race I actually ran a mile.  I haven't run that far in probably 30 years, maybe longer.  I have scrunched, stretched, danced, walked, and run to get ready.  My goal for Saturday's race...finish....yup...that's it.  I already decided that my body will not go over the ten foot wall.  I think I could scramble up but my knees would never forgive me for the jump down.  Other obstacles will have me scrambling down, up, over, through, between, in mud, water, tires, and my daughter is going with me.  She is my trainer, encourager, and all around got off the couch and move cheerleader.  Thanks to her I have been dancing at a studio for 2 years.  I am so excited.  I can hardly wait. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What I am vs What I do

KavinCoach gave me an assignment to describe who I am. I came back with a lengthy document of things that I do: wife, mother, photographer and on and on about everything I do.  KavinCoach failed me and sent me back to the drawing board to figure out who I am.  The next thing I wrote was all the things I wasn't.  One of the most interesting things I did in art classes was to experience taking away.  In carving soap or wood, the object is to carve away what isn't the thing you want.  So I then wrote all these things that I am not.  Again KavinCoach shook his head.  Years later, I am now helping in a class for students learning to become Early Childhood Education teachers (preschool teachers) the class was instructed in "I" statements.  After the presentation one of the students piped up, "Nobody talks like that." 
Another attempt:
I am curious
I am kind
I am an artist
I am ....running out of things to say.
From this lesson I realized that the challenge KavinCoach offered me is not how people talk very often, especially if you live with a narcissistic personality.  There are many "you" statements, "they" statements, but very little claiming of their own actions.  When I say "I am ...." , I am owning what I am.  It is curiously empowering to say, "I am scared, I am hurt, I am sad, I am funny, I am curious, I am dancing, I am playing in the rain, I am loving, I am kind, I am tired, I am strong, I am loveable."

I love this video of "Jessica's affirmations"

I am an artist.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Moment of Anxiety

Like every love story, there are moments of doubt, fear, anxiety, failure, falling down, messed up, learning to love myself has all those and much more.  Today is one of those less bright moments.  Depression is nipping at my heels.  Sorrow is playing its song.  I am not even sure why.  Good things happened on the weekend.  I felt closure over some of the incidences in my past.  I felt peace.  Then everything started to fall apart.  Tonight was a big fat blah.  I was late for dance.  Didn't want to fulfill my responsibilities, vegetated watching tv shows that I have seen before.  Ate lousy - banana bread, a cookie and a cupcake were my dinner.  I played games until after 1 in the morning.  I dragged at work today.  Yup, every love story has tough moments.  Here is the interesting thing I am learning.  Loving myself is not dependent on me performing well, doing things perfectly, being at the top of my game.  Loving myself includes nurturing me when I am down.  Encouraging myself to get back up on my feet.  Eat what I know is good for me.  I think I spent a lot of years beating myself up for not being in top form every moment of every day.  I didn't expect my children to be perfect every day....why do I do this to myself?  I almost didn't write this but I remember a conversation I had with my brother.  I heard through family gossip about the wild exploits of his children.  I was worried about meeting them.  I finally did and found them to be bright, energetic kids.  I volunteered to take all the kids down to play at the school playground.  My brother insisted that he come along since he felt I wouldn't be able to cope.  Well I had twice as many kids and I had coped for years.  We walked down the street.  I decided to match him story for story about our respective kids adventures.  I knew with twice as many kids the odds were in my favor.  By the time we reached the school he was floored about all the misadventures, hijinks and sometimes naughty things my kids had done.   He asked me why everyone thought my kids were better than his.  I smiled, "Because I don't tell anyone about the negative things."  When I love someone, I don't tell anyone about the negative things.  They are there.  I don't ignore them but the negative things are as much a part of them as the good things they do.  Like a photograph, we are all lights and shadows with many shades in between.  Tomorrow is here and I need to sleep a bit.  I will eat healthy meals again, I will exercise again, I will be more productive again.  Today being an off day, I am happy to realize, I don't love me less. 

I don't remember where I found this wonderful picture.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I have a great sense of humor

I am blaming this on Mary Poppins.

"You are today where your thoughts
have brought you; you will be
tomorrow where your
thoughts take you."
- James Allen
Click Here For Success Tip # 083

Authenticity can sound serious and solemn (I think this is a problem with self development in general).

It is great to giggle, have fun and lighten up sometimes. It doesn't harm the planet, builds relationships and is all free!!!

I heard that you know you are a child of the 90s if when your hard drive dies the thing you miss most was your jokes folder.  I love laughing. I especially love laughing with someone but not at them.  The internet unleashed one of the most amazing way to share funny stories.  I think that is one of the fun things about Facebook and Pinterest is a quick way to share something that I find funny.  I remember the first year I used email.  Someone started a snowball fight.  In an era before broadband, the users brought the server down from the number of e-snowballs sent.  :D  When my Readers Digest arrived I read all the funny stories first.  In fact, sometimes it was the only thing I read.  I was highly amused when I went to a Las Vegas show and the comedian used several jokes from Readers Digest.  I stopped taking the newspaper and missed the comics page most.  A lot of life is just funny.  Finding the funny in things is much like finding silver linings, it lightens the load. 

A couple of videos with laughing passengers.

I am here
In the parking lot.
Arizona Christmas

Monday, February 18, 2013

I love little children

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

 Matthew 18:1-6
1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

One of my earliest memories is singing to my little sister when she would cry while her diaper was changed.  Severe rash made the experience miserable for her.  I adored my own little children and they grew up to be amazing adults.  Now we are blessed with wonderful grand children.  I feel so blessed to be in their presence.  More than once I was accused of preferring them to adults.  In many ways yes.  They are so present and so now and so intriguing.  My daughter was chuckling over the pride her nephew felt for learning to jump.  In that moment she fully realized that children have to learn everything.  My opinion is that children have to learn everything but each one comes with their own little personality as to how they are going to do that.  Some are full speed ahead, I don't care how often I crash, I am going to go.  Others test the waters first, cautious, wanting to get it right immediately, frustrated if things don't come easily.  I still remember being chewed out by a teacher for placing pressure on my child to achieve.  I turned to the teacher with the reply, "You teach me how I can get her to relax and I will do it."  I have 6 very different amazing children.  I am fascinated by children.  I am enjoying working in the Early Childhood Education program.  Mostly I work with the teenage students learning to become preschool teachers.  Occasionally I am privileged with doing something with the small preschoolers.  Last year I played the Easter Bunny.  One of the little girls still waves and says hi to the Easter Bunny, me.  I think my grand kids are darling when they have had enough visiting and wave good bye in a not to subtle hint to their mom and dad it is time to go.  I enjoy children.  I enjoyed watching my own grow up.  I often felt like I was more of a hindrance then a help in their progress.  At church I enjoy working with the little ones so willing to learn and so busy.  I love little children and I feel like I am good at playing with them at an age appropriate level.  

Such cute little toes

Hanging out not knowing the meaning yet. 

What did I get for Christmas?


What cha' doin, Grandma?


Checking out flamingos at the zoo.

Discovering shooting water

Making music and messes with permission.

Made the table and chair strong enough to hold me and small enough for the grand kids.

Latest addition next to big brother

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Silver linings

I see silver linings.  The darkest clouds may block the sun but looking a break will happen and the silver lining appears.  I photograph these breaks and bits of sunshine.  I find them in my life too.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.   Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

This quote hangs in our hall way.  A reminder that everyday we have experiences to teach us.  

Psalm 119:71 King James Version (KJV)

71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

I noticed that some experiences are there and if I do nothing with them they are just experiences.  However, if I process and incorporate things into my life I can find the good in the experience.  We lived in Spokane, Washington when Mount Saint Helen blew her top.  Ash traveled clear across the state and covered the city with ash.  Fear struck our hearts.  The freeway was shut down and the city was in a 3 day locked down.  Our neighbor worked in the military and knew what test to run to see if the ash was safe.  We started clean up and all that ash I dug into the ground around my roses.  My flowers blossomed with a bumper crop that year.  Unfortunately, some people feared the ash so left the ash on top of the ground.  The ash formed an unpenetrable crust that suffocated many of the rose bushes in the city.  Another example is manure.  Left in huge heaps does little but stink up the air.  Spread around it fertilizes grass and flowers.  I find the uses and silver linings in experiences.  I had cancer 11 years ago before I started counseling.  The experience I had with cancer gave me experiences that prepared me for counseling.  I learned to trust a professional.  I learned that I can go into something feeling pretty good but come out feeling awful knowing in the long term it is for my healthy or safety.  My ability to find the brightness in a situation garnered criticism that I was a Pollyanna.  (Pollyanna only saw good in everything.)  I reminded my critic that I was very aware of the bad things happening.  I simply choose to find the buried treasure hidden from first view.  I love the story by Dr. Banks about the twin boys that one was an optimist and the other a pessimist.   

First the psychiatrist treated the pessimist.  Trying to brighten his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys.  But instead of yelping with delight, the little boy burst into tears.  ”What’s the matter?” the psychiatrist asked, baffled. “Don’t you want to play with any of the toys?”  “Yes,” the little boy bawled, “but if I did I’d only break them.” 
Next the psychiatrist treated the optimist.  Trying to dampen his out look, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with horse manure.  But instead of wrinkling his nose in disgust, the optimist emitted just the yelp of delight the psychiatrist had been hoping to hear from his brother, the pessimist.  Then he clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to his knees, and began gleefully digging out scoop after scoop with his bare hands.  ”What do you think you’re doing?” the psychiatrist asked, just as baffled by the optimist as he had been by the pessimist. “With all this manure,” the little boy replied, beaming, “there must be a pony in here somewhere!” 

KavinCoach helped me dig through the manure in my life to find the pony, bits of treasure or lessons to learn.  The experiences of my past were cut in stone.  What I did with those experiences made all the difference.